94 days earlier than Olympics, only one% Japanese vaccinated

Tokyo, April 20

The Tokyo Olympics organising committee said today that they received no request from athletes to vaccinate them before the opening of the Olympic Games.

The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated, causing concern about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that are scheduled to open in just over three months.

Naoko Takahashi, Chairperson, Athletes’ Committee, Tokyo 2020 said during a press conference that while athletes have questions about the Covid-19 vaccinations, they were not about whether athletes can get them or not. Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the vaccine rollout, said last week that even if the Olympics go on, it’s possible the venues will be empty. This is partly because of the low vaccination rate. Fans from abroad are already banned from the Olympics, and it’s hard to imagine venues even half-filled with mostly unvaccinated fans. Many non-Japanese entering Japan are expected to be vaccinated.

The IOC has said vaccines are not required to participate. However, IOC president Thomas Bach has openly encouraged athletes to be vaccinated. Of course, that causes conflict when athletes are a priority ahead of vulnerable populations. — AP/PTI

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